“Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy — but mysterious. But above all black says this: I don’t bother you — don’t bother me.”— Yohji Yamamoto
An eternally classic color, black is a mood, a feeling. When combined with the power and effortlessness of a dress, black takes on a myriad of fascinating personalities. Chic and timeless, black dresses are for every season & occasion.
Unlike its jewel toned sisters or bright colored cousins, black dress outfits lend the wearer a unique charm that is possible with no other garment. The LBD has been a fixture, an obsession, with generations of women for a reason - it goes way beyond just being a piece of clothing and easily transitions into the realm of self-expression.
How to wear a black dress often boils down to key attitudes when styling a garment this iconic:
Excited? Us too! Let's take a journey into 5 novel black dress outfit ideas that take their inspirations from key sub-cultures and we’ll give you a low-down on how you can stay on-point with this timeless garment in 2020 - read on!
A guide on how to wear a black dress in 5 distinct and ultra-stylish ways
Slicked back, neat, put-together and undeniably chic - a sleek black dress is every minimalist’s holy grail. A minimalist’s style is understated, clean and unassuming, giving the wearer an effortlessness that is authentic to the core. Read on if you are wondering what to wear with a black dress in a minimalist way:
Keep it sleek and sensual in a lush black slip dress with spaghetti straps. Style it with a low bun, a neutral lip and a pair of hoops for a nonchalant and gram-ready flair. Belt it up, wear a t-shirt underneath or just slip a shrug on to give it a layered and slightly grungier look.
Pair an easy, minimally over-sized black day-dress with an easy pair of sliders for a minimal, yet modern statement. Comfy and easy, all this look needs is a low pony or an easy-going hairstyle and a no-makeup look. This one’s perfect and versatile enough for a WFH day and an out-and-about summertime escapade.
A normcore style is the easiest, simplest and most relatable of them all! ‘Normcore’ is a fashion subculture that is defined by simple, easy-to-wear, ‘normal’ looking clothes that define the day-to-day casuals that so many of us find ultimate comfort in. Cue in the sporty sneakers, black t-shirt dresses and jackets casually tied across the waist. Voila! - you have a chic, normcore inspired black dress outfit in minutes.
Style this one with a blue denim jacket for a sleek colorblocked effect. A black denim on black dress combination will also look super smart and urban-chic.
Want to go a little punk-rock inspired alongside your normcore instead? Layer your simple black t-shirt or slip dress with a grungy biker or bomber jacket instead! It's simple, chic & you can add a dark colored lip for the extra rock ‘n roll punch!
Pair your simple black maxi -dress or t-shirt dress with interesting bags - be it a small crossbody or a basket bag, and a pair of sneakers to add a little surprise element to your normcore black dress outfits.
P.S: Sneakers are EVERYTHING when it comes to styling a simple black shift dress! The attitude, the easiness and the comfort is simply unmatched in any other pairing.
We’re sure you are familiar with the symbiotic and codependent relationship workwear has with a black dress. Coffee, keyboards and black dresses are absolute essentials for any working woman and boss lady in the 21st century. Let’s take a look at the sharp and sleek ways in which work wear fits in with black dress outfit ideas:
Opt for a collared - preferably blazer collared dress for an undeniable girlboss vibe! Sleek, with defined shoulders and a razor sharp profile, this look in black, is a headturner. Go for a middle parting or slicked back hair and a tinge of color on the lips with this one. A style for all work-days that is guaranteed to command any room you walk into.
A black work dress is every working girl’s wardrobe must-have. The key to keeping it simple at work, is to have minimal jewellery and one key accessory moment. Pair it up with lace-up boots or shoes, wear button-down ones with platforms or style it with sneakers - comfort is a priority. We also love styling a simple work dress with a blazer coat or work cardigan. Afterall, something has to give for those freezing office AC temperatures!
Ah, lush and dark florals, sheer textures and romantic silhouettes - a bohemian moment is just what elevates a black dress from something as simple and effective as a normcore vibe to a high-fashion, iconic style. From a grungy punk style, to a soft, unapologetically feminine vibe; a black dress can embody the bohemian subculture in so many unique ways. Here are some of our faves:
The oversized sleeve has been an obsession for the last three seasons - and we are not quite ready to let go of it yet! Go for a puffy sleeve & whether it's sheer or not, it is guaranteed to lend you the king of vintage, bohemian romance you NEED in 2020! Keep everything else super minimal - preferably no jewellery. However, add a red lip with your big-sleeved black dress for a touch of drama and a 90s throwback moment.
Piano pleats, please! Get your goddess drapes on, this is one trend that’s smouldering in black! Chic, wearable on many different sizes and adding an air of romance like no other, pleated black dresses are a bohemian jam you don’t want to miss out on. Luscious in sheer fabrics like chiffon, net and georgette, go for these in a calf or maxi length for the full impact. Style with strappy sandals and beachy hair to exude those feminine and sultry vibes!
Textures for days - nothing says bohemian like fabric, embroidery or lace textures. Wear a black dress in an innovative textured material and let it be the star-piece of your bohemian glamour. Dark florals, lacey textures, lush sheer moments are made for boho black dresses. Team it up with tiny charms and studs as jewellery to add a layer of whimsy to your look. We LOVE this look when styled with bright, blushed cheeks and natural, free-flowing hair. After-all, those 70s vibes come through in this free-flowing style!
One more casual and wearable spin to the bohemian trend is the maxi jersey dress in black. Sleek, yet cozy, this is an easy win & day-time look for all the boho-chic ladies out there. Paired with a fringe, biker or bomber jacket and a hat, this look can go a little maximalist too. Opt for pretty charms and quintessential bohemian jewellery like rings, statement earrings or dangly bracelets to elevate this look. The idea is to go maximum and keep things cluttered over a simple black jersey dress.
Our list would be incomplete without a desi touch to the timeless black dress. Spanning many cultures and ethnicities, the versatile black dress has also influenced Indian fashion heavily, leading to a fusion, grungy, desi style that we absolutely live for! From sari-inspired black dresses to layered styling with ethnic outerwear, the black dress truly displays its versatility in this evergreen trend. Read on to find ways to carry off the black dress in indo-western grunge inspired looks:
The sari is as ubiquitous in Indian culture and Indian wear as black dresses are globally! Thus, it seems natural that the wtwo would come together and make an explosive combo. Decadent sari-inspired drapes take centerstage with this trend. Ethnically inspired, easy-going and ultra-stylish, these drapes are extra smouldering and impactful in black! Go for a sleek updo and statement earrings to make the most of this outfit. Add a sparkly belt and a pair of blingy heels for an evening look and dress it down with an easy waist, open hair and a pair of kolhapuri sliders for an everyday ease.
The Anarkali black dress is another classic. Confused as to what it is? Well, it's quite simple (And multi-functional). Take a black anarkali or fit & flare kurta and wear it like a dress! From Sabyasachi to retail versions, this is a classic that is bound to lend the wearer a super dramatic, bollywood-esque flair that's for the ages! Harken back to the retro bollywood era with a winged liner and a middle parting, or slick your hair back and add a chic leather belt for cleaner lines and a modern touch. The possibilities are endless with this one!
Wondering what to wear with a black dress to give it an ethnic fusion twist? We’ve got just the thing for you! Indian fashion is known for intricately designed and/or embroidered outerwear like capelets, shrugs and ethnic jackets. Just throw one on a simple black slip dress or a plain shift dress; and you have a chic, grungy fusion outfit that’s total #ootd goals! Opt for one with metallic gold or silver embroidery to give your plain black dress an added lease of life. We love this look with unconventional jewellery items such as anklets or ear cuffs. You can go full glam or total punk-rock and embody this experimental black dress outfit idea to its fullest.
A black dress is not only for any occasion or season, but it lends itself to every style, every subculture and every arena of fashion.
Omnipresent in the fashion industry, the black dress is dynamic enough to stand for whatever you want it to be. Are you a minimalist? Or punk-rocker? Perhaps a romantic bohemian? Or are you different moods on different days? It doesn’t matter! There is a black dress out there to suit your every whim.
We hope you love our plethora of ideas on how to rock a black dress outfit. Styling, pairing and layering options for black dresses are truly endless. Which one was your fave? - Let us know!